FC Barcelona followed up their 1-1 Copa Semi 1-1 away draw to Real Madrid with another 1-1 away draw to Valencia in league action. Valencia struck first when Banega gave his side the lead after 33 minutes. Barça though would score the equalizer five minutes later when Messi converted from the spot. Barça will try to get back on a winning roll next weekend when they host Getafe. However, most of the Barça players will be busy representing their countries during midweek international action.
Barça had a few days to recover from another Clásico encounter. This time, their opponents were Valencia at home. The Mestalla has always been a tough place for Barça and today was no exception. Víctor Valdés was back in goal with a back four consisting of Dani Alves, Piqué, Mascherano and Jordi Alba. The midfield consisted of Busquets, Xavi and Cesc supporting the front three of Pedro, Iniesta and Messi.
Barça failed to seize an opportunity to establish an 18 point gap over their arch nemesis Real Madrid, after the defending champions’ loss at Granada the night before last night, following their less inspiring performance against Valencia. Valencia were the more aggressive side early on and scored the first goal of the game in the 33rd minute. A series of crosses and half clearances by Barça players resulted in Ever Banega getting the ball in the Barça box and he smashed a right footed half volley past Valdés, much to the delight of the fans in attendance.
Valencia though would savor the lead for a short bit. Barça grabbed an equalizer five minutes after Banega’s goal when Messi converted from the spot. Pedro was brought down by Valencia's of Joao Pereira with a clumsy challenge. Messi took the spot kick and scored with ease as he blasted past the hapless Guaita for his 34th league goal. Messi had now scored in 12 straight league matches and has now scored 45 goals in all competitions.
Neither side would manage to score any other goals but it was not for the lack of trying. Cesc had a chance on goal but his effort struck the post. Substitute David Villa almost scored when squandered a golden scoring chance from close range. Barça also were thankful for Valdés and his saves to deny Canales from scoring. However, Valencia came close to winning it near the end after Cissokho robbed Pique off the ball before whipping in a dangerous cross which Canales and Soldado were in awe after Valdés robbed them both.
Barça remain league leaders with 59 points after 22 matches and watched their lead over Atlético Madrid shrink back to 9 points. Barça will try to get back on a winning roll next weekend when they host Getafe. However, most of the Barça players will be busy representing their countries during midweek international action.
Match Info (From Sport):
Valencia: Guaita, Joao Pereira, Rami, Ricardo Costa, Cissokho, Víctor Ruiz, Tino Costa, Bernat (Piatti, m.70), Banega (Canales, m.69), Guardado (Jonas, m.86) y Soldado.
FC Barcelona: Víctor Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano (Puyol, m.55), Jordi Alba, Busquets, Xavi (Thiago, m.90), Cesc (Villa, m.72), Pedro, Iniesta y Messi.
Goals: 1-0, Banega (m.33); 1-1, Messi (m.39 – penalty).
Referee: González González
Bookings: Cissokho, Guardado &Soldado; Mascherano.